Saturday, September 6, 2014

THE FIRST LADY OF COUNTRY MUSIC

 After reading about an upcoming festival in the Red Bay, AL area, my friend, Kathy Page, and I decided we could make our Labor Day weekend more exciting by attending a festival in Tremont, MS, on September 1, at the intersection of Highway 178 and Highway 23 North.  Upon arriving, we were pleasantly surprised to a classic car show, silent auction, food, live music, and planned activities.  If you brought your lawn chair you were definitely going to be entertained all day long!
Labor Day Festival - Tremont, MS

Lots of preparation to feed all the people

Car Show

Car Show

Car Show

Car Show - I want it!

Tremont, MS, founded in 1852, is in Itawamba County, MS, and the 2014 population is close to 500, give or take a few.  Virginia Wynette Pugh, also known as Tammy Wynette, grew up between Tremont and Red Bay in the Bounds Community.  We arrived in Tremont by driving from Red Bay on the "Tammy Wynette Highway", which connects MS Highway 23 from the Alabama State Line to Tremont.  
Rural Mississippi
 This small, sweet town has one grocery store, 1 restaurant, 5 very large churches, and the appearance of very few homes.  As it was explained to us, most of the homes are spread out on land from 500 acres to 1800 acres, obviously an important agricultural part of the state.

We were pleasantly surprised to find out what the Labor Day Festival was about through Mrs. Holly Ford, an original promoter, 24/7 marketing director, and who, is also on the Board of Directors of Tremont Village - Home of Tammy Wynette.   This festival was held on the future site of Tremont Village, and has been in the planning stages for about the last 3 years with numerous fans and people involved.  Mrs. Ford's best friend in school was, you guessed it, Tammy Wynette.  
Holly Ford - Citizen of Tremont
Kathy Page - my friend

Tee Shirt - Yes, we  have one!
Tremont Village, when completed, will be a world class attraction and a beautiful tribute to the first lady of country music, Tammy Wynette (5/5/42 - 4/6/98).   Tammy Wynette, one of the most acclaimed performers in the history of country music, had 20 era-defining Number 1 records, such as "Take Me To Your World", D-I-V-O-R-C-E, and "Stand By Your Man".  Country music fans will soon include Tremont as a part of the Mississippi Country Music Trail, a very popular circuit for fans who travel from Nashville, Muscle Shoals, Tupelo, and now, Tremont, MS.
A "Tammy" Fan!
From the Tammy Wynette collection
Red Bay, AL Museum

Tammy Wynette

From Tammy Wynette Collection
Red Bay, AL Museum

From Tammy Wynette Collection
Red Bay, AL Museum
The Itawamba County and Mississippi State Tourism Board seem to be very serious in their vision for "Tremont Village" by making a $2.5 million grant available with matching funds, and that's where this festival, corporate sponsors, devoted fans, and other fund raisers will come into play to make this dream come true.  Artist renderings of the Village are at the Buster Davis Ford Dealership in Fulton, Mississippi.

One of the most impressive tourism and welcome centers in the state is located closeby on major US Highway 78, which will help draw tourists both nationally and internationally.  Tremont Village will include a small recording studio, an auditorium where world-class entertainers will perform, a chapel where weddings or other events will take place, and a 24/7 restaurant/tourism store.

On another note, but related, make sure you buy a Tammy Wynette postage stamp when the U.S. Post Office begins selling them.

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